Redefining the Printed Book

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In reading the interviews with Bob Stein, I was most struck by his interest in the way the books are written and then translated into a digital form. He describes that he is not interested in merely seeing books we already know reformatted for an electronic device, but he would rather see a book written and created differently for an electronic experience. In his first interview "Mao, King Kong, and the future of the book," Stein talks about how his career path has always dealt with publishing and electronics in one way or another in the sense that he strived to make digital out of what was already printed. Now, however, his direction has shifted into creating a whole different form of publication.

Personally, I feel that books are still written in order to be read in a linear fashion. Most books are still released in bookstores, however eBooks are starting to be a more common trend. But they way the books are written and read has not changed. I am a little uncomfortable with the way Stein describes his vision for the future of electronic books. Even though I have a kindle I enjoy reading on it and I do still like its linear fashion. The new book that Stein describes sounds almost like an interactive video game with a twisting plot line. While this sounds very entertaining, I do not think the general feel of reading through a book and allowing your imagination to do the work will ever fade.



carsonk's picture

Interactive Video Game


I found your description of Stein's vision very interesting. I had never thought of an interactive ebook as almost like a video game, but when it is described like that, it scares me too! I have to agree though, while interactive ebooks seem very interesting, how is that going to change what we read? I also have a Kindle and like that it is electronic but still traditional (without a backlight and with words simply placed on a screen (or page)). It makes me nervous about the future. WIll there be so many distractions while reading that we won't be able to focus on simply the plot of a book?

chelsiemess's picture

The word that really struck

The word that really struck me was imagination. How does the role of imagination play into interactive ebooks? How are the ways in which we think and process changing? For networked, interactive books to take hold of the market, will our cognitive processing have to change first? Or is it the opposite? Will ebooks change the way we read and enjoy text? I think that as our interactions with digital media continue to grow, our reading habits will change as well. Perhaps our generation is too fully entrenched in our ways to shift to this new way of consuming media.

Meagan757's picture


Personally, I feel like the line between book and movie would be blurred. I just keep thinking about how I love reading books before the movies because I like to imagine the character's faces first & get all of the details I can before I have the movie create the story line for me. I guess I'm worried if books get too interactive with images and sound that it will lessen my ability to imagine everything...

Meagan757's picture


I feel like it would be entertaining to have such an interactive fiction book. However I feel like it takes away from the way we read books. Now we have to imagine everything ourselves and create the character images in our head. But if the books were to start giving us images ourselves that takes away from the possibilities of our imagination.

On the flip side though, I feel like having an interactive textbook with images, graphs, tables and audio would be very helpful! I feel like the non-linear format would help people to learn more and actually retain information.

So I guess I'm torn between the interactive book and where I would want to use it and where I want to have my text on a page back...